Thanks for taking some time to read through this issue of Tidbits... as always, we appreciate it.
We hope you are making it through another upper plains winter, as we are. Sometimes it gets easy to just stay home when that wind is whipping that snow around out there. Lynette and I recently braved the weather for something other than work. We headed up to Clinton, Minnesota to participate in the Clinton Commercial Club Chili Cookoff Fundraiser. Last year we went through and taste-tested, but this year we brought our (in)famous "Hillbilly Chili - Bits of This and Bits of That" to share. It is one of those recipes that never gets written down, but always turns out delicious. We had a couple people worried with our table banner that depicted a squirrel and possum... I think one gentleman swore it was a rat. Sorry, we don't live that far back in the woods... just beef and pork and some secret ingredients like fresh-canned vegetables and a bottle of Habanero Beer that we brew, among other types. This one is brewed with a variety of peppers and spices from our garden and puts a kick in the chili.
Lynette and I did our best to dress the part, and we even had a small memorial to Donna Douglas (Ellie May Clampett) who passed away at the beginning of January.
We had a great time giving out chili samples and talking with some of our readers from the Clinton area. It was quite a family affair, to be honest. My dad grew up outside of Clinton and is one of thirteen brothers and sisters. So, out of eleven chili entrants, I believe five of us were related somehow. Now that just makes the competition that much better, although I think my cousin Greg blatantly brandishing a baby to try gain votes for his chili was over the line... he claimed it was his "granddaughter" or something... whatever.
I have to say, I did get to try all ten other chillies and they were all fantastic. There was everything from a chicken taco chili to a classic five alarm variety (that one slowed me down a bit, I think I did have to step outside to cool off and wipe the sweat from my forehead at one point.)
Thanks to the Clinton Commercial Club for putting on the event, I think next year will be the fourth annual chili cookoff... and thanks to everyone who came out to taste the wonderful varieties of chili that night and help support one of our many small towns.
Have a great week and be safe out there!
Sean Athey, owner/publisher
sean@LakeAreaTidbits.com • www.LakeAreaTidbits.com